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Boston (AFP) – Notorious Boston underworld kingpin James “Whitey” Bulger was jailed for life on Thursday after a 40-year career of murder, money laundering and arms trafficking.

Bulger, 84, who was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run, faces the prospect of dying in prison after Judge Denise Casper handed down two life terms and an additional five years in prison.

Casper, who also ordered Bulger to pay just over $19.5 million in restitution to his victims, branded the feared mobster’s catalogue of crimes as “unfathomable.”

Bulger, a former FBI informant, said only one word after sentencing: “yes” when asked if he understood.

It was a dramatic end to the career of a man who provided the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s mob boss character in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 2006 gangster film “The Departed.”

Tom Donahue, whose father was murdered by Bulger, welcomed the verdict as offering “some closure.”

“To hell with him, next time I want to hear about him is that he’s dead,” he said.

A 12-person jury in August found the Irish-American octogenarian guilty of 31 separate charges that included 11 murders, extortion, money laundering and arms trafficking.

Casper, who has won widespread praise for the aplomb with which she handled the two-month trial and enormously complex case, described Bulger’s crimes as “heinous.”

“The motivation of your entire criminal history is based on money. It takes no business acumen to stick a gun in somebody,” she told the U.S. district court in Boston.

She read out the names of the 11 victims he was convicted of murdering and said it was impossible to know where to begin when faced with Bulger’s four-decade reign of crime.

“At times during the trial I wished we were watching a movie but it was real,” she said.

Bulger sat impervious, wearing his short-sleeved, orange cotton jail uniform with a white, long-sleeved jersey underneath. He wore glasses was clean shaven.

“Your motivation behind these crimes or your entire criminal history is based upon money. Your crimes are all the more heinous because they were about money,” Casper said.

She said many of his victims’ loved ones were still suffering and pointed out many had to wait years to find out how they died.

“The loss of a loved one is pain enough but to lose someone to violence is unimaginable,” Casper said.

She also gave voice to claims that other people are guilty.

“I considered you did not accomplish all your crimes by yourself and certainly you did have some FBI people in your pocket,” she said.

The trial, which featured 72 witnesses and 840 exhibits, produced chilling testimony worthy of a pulp novel.

It heard harrowing tales of teeth being pulled from the mouths of murder victims to foil their posthumous identification and the fatal strangulation of a mobster’s girlfriend who “knew too much.”

Bulger refused to testify at his trial, saying the proceedings were “unfair and a sham” because it would not recognize what he claimed was immunity from prosecution given by federal agents.

Casper said she had “struggled” with what would be just punishment for the nature and scope of his crimes, but dismissed Bulger’s complaints of a sham trial.

“Call it what you want, but in my estimation you received a fair trial,” she said.

His lawyers said they would appeal the conviction.

Bulger always denied being an FBI informant, but close links between some FBI agents in Boston and Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s have been well documented.

Former FBI agent John Connolly is in prison after being convicted in 2002 of effectively becoming a member of the gang.

Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living under an assumed name with his girlfriend, who was sentenced separately to eight years for aiding and abetting him.

Police found some $800,000 in cash and an arsenal of weapons in his modest apartment.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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